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Statistical Assessment of Effect of Hydride Non-Ratcheting Conditions on Delayed Hydride Cracking Initiation in CANDU Pressure Tubes

[+] Author Affiliations
Leonid Gutkin, Douglas A. Scarth

Kinectrics, Inc., Toronto, ON, Canada

Grant A. Bickel

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Chalk River, ON, Canada

Paper No. PVP2010-25707, pp. 559-570; 12 pages
doi:10.1115/PVP2010-25707
From:
  • ASME 2010 Pressure Vessels and Piping Division/K-PVP Conference
  • ASME 2010 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference: Volume 6, Parts A and B
  • Bellevue, Washington, USA, July 18–22, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-49255 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3878-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

abstract

In-service flaws in CANDU Zr-Nb pressure tubes are evaluated for initiation of delayed hydride cracking (DHC) according to Canadian nuclear standards. A flaw may be under hydride ratcheting conditions or under hydride non-ratcheting conditions, depending on the hydrogen concentration at the flaw location. Under hydride ratcheting conditions (higher hydrogen concentrations), flaw-tip hydrides do not completely dissolve at normal operating temperature and incrementally accumulate with each reactor heatup/cooldown cycle. On the contrary, under hydride non-ratcheting conditions (lower hydrogen concentrations), the flaw-tip hydrides completely dissolve at normal operating temperature, so that no incremental hydride accumulation occurs with each reactor heatup/cooldown cycle. Experiments have demonstrated that the resistance to DHC initiation under hydride non-ratcheting conditions is substantially higher than that under hydride ratcheting conditions. A single-valued lower-bound hydride non-ratcheting factor had been proposed to conservatively quantify this behaviour. However, such a factor does not account for the experimentally observed variation in the relative increase in the threshold stress for DHC initiation under hydride non-ratcheting conditions with respect to that under hydride ratcheting conditions. In this paper, this problem has been addressed statistically by evaluating the probability of DHC initiation at the in-service flaws. The predicted probability of DHC initiation has been found to increase with increasing the applied stress and the stress concentration at the flaw tip and to decrease with increasing the threshold stress intensity factor for DHC initiation. All these trends are consistent with our fundamental understanding of the DHC initiation phenomenon. Also, the predicted probability of DHC initiation is higher for hydride ratcheting conditions than for hydride non-ratcheting conditions. On the basis of this analysis, the hydride non-ratcheting factor has been represented as a distributed parameter, suitable for use in the probabilistic assessments of delayed hydride cracking initiation.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

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